Ducks, A Vanished School, and The Dawn of the Space Age
“The ‘Oregon’ and Other Schools,” continued

Ducks’ Flat, view from Route 519 looking north

With a name like Ducks’ Flat, you just know there must be a story there. But first, is it Duck’s Flat or Ducks’ Flat? I pitch for Ducks’, since it must have been a place where migrating ducks would gather. That’s the way Egbert T. Bush saw it. In his article “The ‘Oregon’ and Other Schools,” which I recently published in its entirety.1

Mr. Bush wrote:

Ducks’ Flat School

Another school that is not recorded anywhere and will soon be forgotten, was the “Ducks’ Flat School.” Why that prosperous region of the old times should have received that name is not clear; but Ducks’ Flat it was and, to a great extent among older people, Ducks’ Flat it still is. Of course the school inherited the name.

I have long wished to write about this intriguing place, and now the time has come. The place as Mr. Bush described it is interesting enough, but it was also the scene of a curious experiment in the 1920s that Mr. Bush did not describe. I will save that for Ducks’ Flat, part two.

Ducks’ Flat is located around the intersections of Route 519 with Sanford Road, Hewitt Road and Strimples Mill Road, and is an unusually level area near the dividing line between Delaware and Kingwood Townships. I suspect that early 19th-century farmers were cultivating wheat and oats, rather than the usual hay, corn and soybeans of today, which might have made the location more appealing for hungry feathered migrants. There are no great flocks of ducks in the location now, perhaps because, like so many other birds, their populations have dwindled, thanks to loss of habitat in other areas of their migration.

Here is more of what Mr. Bush wrote:

Theodore L. Cullen and Charles Opdyke—and probably several others—remember this old school distinctly, as they have good reason for doing. But it appears to be high time that a record, such as may yet be obtained, should be made on something more enduring than the memory of “the oldest inhabitant.” Nothing remains to show where the house stood. However, its location is definitely thus: It stood on the westerly side of the road from Rosemont to Kingwood, just below where the road to the “Oregon Mill” branches off toward the west. This was later Strimple’s and is now Pfeiffer’s Mill. The land was leased by James Barcroft, father of Aaron, who was the father of J. M. Barcroft, now of Lambertville.

Of the three historic 19th century maps of this area, only one of them, “The Philadelphia & Environs” map of 1860, shows the school. Unfortunately, most surviving copies of the map are under glass, so taking a photo is nearly impossible for an amateur like me. But it is noteworthy that the school house was not shown in 1851 and was gone by 1873, the dates of the other two maps. That makes a very short life-span for a school.2

James Barcroft’s Family

James Barcroft, blacksmith as well as farmer, worked in a shop that stood a little farther down the Rosemont road, just below where the road to Charles Opdyke’s branches off to the right.

Presumably, Mr. Bush means a little farther down Route 519 from the school house. The 1851 map shows the “B. Shop” (blacksmith shop) almost directly across from the intersection of Route 519 and Strimples Mill Road, just where Bush locates it, across the road from the school. Charles Opdyke lived on today’s Hewitt Road.

What surprises me is that in this article, Mr. Bush did not focus on the property where the school was located, i.e., on the farm of James Barcroft. So I will fill the void here. You can see a picture of James Barcroft’s house in my article “The Barcroft Genealogy” (Going-Going-Gone, part two). Today, the house is a ruin.

James Barcroft (1796-1875), son of Ambrose Barcroft and Frances Opdycke, was married to Nancy Opdycke (1802-1881), daughter of Thomas and Anna Opdycke. She was only distantly related to the Charles Opdyke, discussed below. Her sister Margaret Opdycke married James Barcroft’s step-brother Aaron Barcroft. It was Aaron Barcroft who bought the farm from George Holcombe in 1807 and sold it to James and Ambrose Barcroft in 1818. Ambrose then sold his share to brother James in 1827.3 Originally, the whole of Ducks’ Flat was part of the 1,665 acres acquired by Charles Wolverton in 1714.4

Mr. Bush wrote that James Barcroft was the person to lease the lot for the schoolhouse. Unfortunately, Barcroft did not record that lease. Usually the property owner who donates a lot for a school house has school-age children in need of an education. James and Nancy married in 1822. Their son William Hamilton Barcroft was born December 1822, and son Aaron was born about 1834. John Bray Barcroft was born in 1829 but died in 1832, and son Joseph, born in 1833, died in 1834.

William and Aaron Barcroft could not have attended Ducks’ Flat school, being well-beyond school age by 1860, but perhaps their children did, all of whom were born in the 1860s. William H. Barcroft (1822-1876) married Harriet Bray, daughter of John Bray and Ruth Scott, in 1863. Their children were Amy, born 1864 (married Ellis Burket) and Caroline, born 1867 (married Joseph H. Hann). William was 53 years old when he died.

Aaron Barcroft (c.1834-1880) married Sarah Lucretia Fisher about 1863 (the marriage is not listed in the Deats compendium). She was the daughter of William Peter Fisher and Sarah Wilson. Their first child was Jordan M. Barcroft (1864-1947), who married Emma D. Hann, and ran a grocery store on North Union St. in Lambertville. The second child was Stacy B. Barcroft (1868-1917) who married Addie Kugler. Third child was Anna Barcroft (b.1872) who married Miller Kline Smith. Aaron Barcroft was only 46 when he died of a “cerebral apoplexy.”5

James Barcroft died in 1875 at the age of 78. His wife Nancy died six years later, on July 26, 1881. James was buried at the Rosemont Cemetery. One would expect Nancy to be there also, but her stone is not listed on Find-a-Grave. She was alive in 1880 when she was counted in the Delaware Twp. census, age 77, living with daughter-in-law Lucretia Barcroft, the widow of son Aaron, who had died that year on May 2nd.

The Well on Charles Opdycke’s Farm

Back to Mr. Bush’s article:

Recently a long-forgotten well was discovered across the Opdyke road and nearly opposite to where the old shop stood. This strengthens the feeling that there was once a dwelling on that comer, probably the home of early blacksmiths.

The “Opdyke road” that Mr. Bush refers to is now Hewitt Road. In the census for 1920, it was named “Tommy Robinson Road.” (Robinson owned a lot further up Hewitt road, where the Michelankos live now.) The well, as described by Mr. Bush, was at the corner of Route 519 and Hewitt Road, and on north side of Hewitt Road.

This corner field was conveyed with other lands to Julius E. Ward, by Charles Opdyke in 1924. Charles had been farming over the well for 40 years, never once thinking of what was under his feet. But the Ward machinery broke through, and the new owner of the land wondered why his good friend and neighbor had given him no warning of the well. He was surprised to find that, with almost a lifelong intimate acquaintance with the ground, the seller had not the slightest, knowledge of the hidden well. No one was to blame and, fortunately, no great damage was done.

A Typical School

The school-house was a typical frame building, with plank seats and desks around the walls in orthodox style. The following are remembered as teachers here: Asa R. Smith, the old war horse among the fraternity in Delaware Township; Nora Barras, who became the wife of Rittenhouse Bennett and mother of Eldridge Bennett, of Rosemont; Joseph Williamson, a prominent farmer and local leader of the township, and Samuel Snyder, who is thought to have been last teacher there.

Theodore L. Cullen says that he began his school life there in or about 1862. The teacher then was Mary Naylor, who came from Pennsylvania. Opdyke says he was a pupil under each of the first three teachers mentioned above; while Cullen, whose father, Judge Henry P. Cullen, then and for many years, owned the Ward farm a little farther up the Kingwood road, spent most of his school life there. Among others who learned their three R’s there, as mentioned by our informants, are Mrs. George W. Arnett and Mrs. S. S. Van Horn, daughters of Lewis Dilley, who was farmer for the Barcrofts there in the earlier days. Both of these ladies have spent most of their lives in Lambertville.

I cannot discuss all the teachers mentioned by Mr. Bush, but I can provide a little information on Lewis Dilley and Theodore Cullen.

Lewis Dilley, son of William and Euphemia Dilly, was living in Delaware Township in 1860, a 35-year-old farmer, with his wife Sarah 30, and daughters Catharine 7, Elen 5 and one-year-old Elizabeth. Sarah Dilley was Sarah Jennie Larason, but I do not know who her parents were. According to Mr. Bush, Lewis Dilley farmed for James Barcroft. By 1870, he had moved to Lambertville where he worked on the railroad and his wife took in boarders. Two more children were added to the family—Caroline or Carrie, born about 1864, and Samuel, born about 1868. By 1880, the family had moved back to Delaware Township, where Lewis resumed farming. Daughter Catharine or Kate had married George W. Arnett by this time, but daughter Ella was still at home, age 23. She married Samuel S. Van Horn in 1888. Lewis Dilley (or Dilly) died on April 8, 1907; his wife Sarah died on Dec. 6, 1889. They are both buried at the Frenchtown Cemetery.

George W. Arnett was a very successful Lambertville business man, who now has a street named after him. Samuel S. Van Horn, born in Pennsylvania to a Quaker family, was a Lambertville merchant. I do not know what became of daughters Carrie and Elizabeth.

Theodore Large Cullen was born February 11, 1854 to Judge Henry Pool Cullen and Theodosia Grant Reading. This would make him the right age to attend the Ducks’ Flat school. On December 10, 1887, he married Mary Ann Bonham, daughter of Ezekiel Everitt Bonham and Fannie Barcroft, who happened to be the niece of James Barcroft (above). In the early 1900s, he gave up farming and sold farm implements instead. He died age 92 in 1947; his wife Mary Ann survived him by one year. They are both buried in the Rosemont Cemetery.

The Charles Opdyke Farm

Now Mr. Bush turns his attention to the Charles Opdyke farm, which was across the road from the school. By 1930, the Barcrofts were gone. But Charles Opdyke was around to share information with Mr. Bush, which is probably why he gave so much attention to the place.

The Opdyke Farm

Of the Opdyke farm on the corner on which the old well was found, we find as follows: The deed of James E. Sherman to Charles Opdyke conveyed 72.82 acres in 1884; the deed of Israel C. Sherman to James E. Sherman, dated March 31, 1879, conveys the same property; the deed of Charles Todd to Israel C. Sherman dated April 2, 1864, conveys 100 acres as the main tract, and a lot of 5.75 acres besides. December 8, 1862, William J. Fisher conveyed to Charles Todd 158 acres including the foregoing properties, but “excepting thereout the legal claims of the heirs of Daniel Bray and Ruth Bray to five acres and three quarters lying in the southwest corner thereof, should they ever call for the claim as above described, the said William Fisher not to be held accountable.” This shows that Gen. Daniel Bray and wife had in their day some kind of claim against the property, probably a mortgage that had never been canceled and was lying in 1863 and may be lying to-day, as harmless as a family cat that died in the same year that gave birth to the claim.

This is all Mr. Bush had to say about the neighborhood of Ducks’ Flat.

“It is my hope to do a deed search on this property to clarify its ownership and its dimensions.6 For now, I can say that William J. Fisher might have been the son of Henry H. Fisher, land speculator of Delaware Twp., but in 1862, this William would have been quite young—about 22 years old. Perhaps he was trying out some land speculation of his own; I’ll have to see when and from whom Fisher got the property. As it turned out, Fisher was listed as a merchant in 1870, no doubt working at his father’s store in Sergeantsville, but by 1880 he was a retired merchant. Hiram Deats has a note in his Fisher file that it was due to “senile debility.”

Charles Todd

I know very little about Charles Todd. I suspect he was the son of Charles Sr. and Elizabeth Todd, who were living in Readington Township in 1817 when they sold a lot there to Daniel Amerman.7 By 1840, they were living in West Amwell. In the 1850 census Charles Sr. was 55 years old (born about 1795) and Elizabeth was about the same age. Living with them was their son Charles Jr., born about 1834.

I believe it was Charles Todd, Jr. who purchased the Ducks’ Flat farm from William J. Fisher in 1862. It doesn’t seem as if he intended to live there, since he sold it two years later to Israel C. Sherman. In fact, I think Charles Todd and wife Catherine lived in West Amwell during this time. Later on, they relocated to Readington Township—at least a Charles Todd was counted there in the 1895 New Jersey State Census. But in 1910, they were back in West Amwell, Charles being 78 years old, living with his second wife, Cornelia B. Todd, age 56.

Israel C. Sherman

Israel Coryell Sherman was born January 1827 to John Sherman and Elizabeth Rittenhouse. He married Sarah Dilts on June 30, 1849. Sarah’s parents have not yet been identified. Israel and Sarah Sherman were counted in the 1850 Delaware Township census, living on their own.

The 1851 Cornell map shows “I. Sherman” living near Milltown in Kingwood, and “C. Sherman” owning property on the west side of Route 519, just north of Strimples Mill Road (Block 28, lot 2).

In the 1860 map, “I. C. Sherman” appears at Block 19 lot 33, on Hewitt Road. This is the location of the Charles Opdyke farm, suggesting that Sherman was renting the farm before he purchased it. In the census of that year, “Coryell Sherman” was a 34-year-old farmer, Sarah was 35, and they had two children, John 7 and James 6. Also living with them was Harrison Rounsaville 18, a laborer.

This Harrison Rounsaville has been something of a puzzle. We know he was born on June 23, 1845 and died Oct. 23, 1894, because he was buried in the Locust Grove Cemetery in Franklin Township. What is puzzling is the 1880 census, in which he was a 36-year-old shoemaker living with his “mother” Sarah Sherman, age 57 (born about 1823). But the same year, Sarah Sherman, wife of Israel, was in a separate household, age 54. Curious. Kay Larson has solved the mystery. This second Sarah Sherman was actually Sarah Rounsaville, daughter of Samuel and Joanna Rounsaville of Alexandria Township. She became the second wife of Israel Sherman’s father, John Sherman, in 1858, when he was a 60-year-old widower and she was age 30. (The marriage was announced in The Hunterdon Republican.) The father of Harrison Rounsavill is not known. Apparently Harrison was illegitimate, but I do wonder if the father might have been another Harrison Rounsaville, who was born in 1820, and married to Elizabeth Bosenbury in 1843. According to the census records, the couple was childless. Sarah’s son Harrison’s birth date fits with this Harrison Sr.—but it would mean he was married when he and unmarried Sarah had their dalliance.

In 1864, Israel C. Sherman bought a farm of 100 acres plus a lot of 5.75 acres from Charles Todd.8 He was listed as a draftee in 1863 and 1864, and paid Civil War taxes in 1865. By 1870, he had real estate worth $6500 and personal property worth $1200. Their sons, John G. 18 and James 16 were both working on the farm.

Nine years later, I. C. and Sarah Sherman sold the Ducks’ Flat farm to their son James. They appear to have moved to a property on Strimples Mill Road. In 1889, they bordered 121.5 acres sold by Calvin G. and Mary Ann Strimple to Abel Kerr.9 And in 1894, they purchased a property “occupied by Abel D. Kerr,” near Strimple’s Mill.10 This may be the same property that Sherman purchased on Dec. 7, 1894 from James Dean, a farm of 108.36 acres (Block 28 lot 20).11 An intriguing item in the Hunterdon Co. Republican for Sept. 9, 1880 is a suit brought by Abel Kerr against James Sherman. No explanation was given; I wonder if it had to do with the Strimples Mill property.

It appears that Israel C. Sherman was a good farmer, wherever he was living. In September 1883, the Republican reported that he had sold his peach crop for 70 cents a basket, “delivered at the Stockton depot, which is considered a good sale.” Here are some other items pertaining to Israel C. Sherman from the Hunterdon Republican:

1895  Jan 2, John C. Opdyke, Jr., of Kingwood Tp., has been hauling heavy logs from the woods of Israel C. Sherman of Delaware Tp., near Rosemont, to be used in repairing his barn. One of the logs weighed 458 [unit was not given – lbs., tons?] which was considered a heavy weight.

1895  Apr 17, We are glad to see Israel C. Sherman of Delaware Tp., out again after his recent severe illness.

1895  Jun 5, Israel C. Sherman and wife Mrs. Sarah Sherman, spent Memorial Day at Frenchtown.

1896  Mar 25, Mayor James E. Sherman and wife of Frenchtown, were recent visitors at the home of his parents, Israel C. Sherman and wife, of Kingwood Tp.

This item is interesting. The writer probably made a mistake, for in 1900, the Shermans were still counted in the Delaware Twp. census of that year. He was 73, born Jan. 1827, still a farmer, and Sarah was 74, born October 1825. They had been married for 50 years, and had 3 children; only two were still alive. Living with them was Elizabeth Dilts age 72 (October 1827). She was identified as a widow who had two children, one of whom was still alive. I have not been able to identify who Elizabeth’s husband was, but she must have been related to Sarah Dilts Sherman in some fashion.

1898  Jan 5, Israel C. Sherman spent New Year’s Day at the home of his son, James S. Sherman of Frenchtown.

Israel C. Sherman died on March 23, 1903 at the age of 76, and was buried in the Rosemont Cemetery. His wife Sarah must have died soon afterward. She was not listed in the 1910 census. She was probably buried next to her husband, but the death date was not noted on her gravestone. There is a grave marker with the names of Israel, Sarah, and (son) John C. Sherman on it. But only Israel’s name has a death date.

James E. Sherman

James E. Sherman was born in 1854 in Delaware Township and died May 23, 1929 in Frenchtown. About 1880 he married Emma Quirk (that’s Quirk, not Quick). She was the daughter of Sergeantsville merchant Henry T. Quirk and wife Amy Wilson. The Shermans did not have any children.

James was 25 when his father sold him the Ducks’ Flat farm, probably around the time of his marriage. He kept it for only 5 years. After selling the farm to Charles Opdyke in 1884, he moved to Frenchtown, where he operated a meat market. He was elected to the town council in 1886, and served as Mayor from 1894 to 1895. James Sherman died on May 23, 1929 and wife Emma died on Oct 18, 1928; they are both buried in the Frenchtown Cemetery.

Charles Opdyke

Charles A. Opdyke was born in February 1852 to John Cavanagh Opdyke and Anna Marie Snyder.12 When Charles was young, his family was living at the miller’s house at Sergeant’s Mills, so Charles attended the Green Sergeant school. By 1851, the Opdycke family had moved to the farm on Hewitt Road.

Charles A. (or sometimes Charles S.) Opdyke married Cornelia B. Phillips about 1875. She was the daughter of Joseph and Mary Phillips, living in Hopewell in 1850 and in Trenton in 1860. How Charles Opdycke came to meet Cornelia Phillips is hard to explain.

Charles Opdyke was apparently well-known to Egbert T. Bush, and was often a source of information for him, as was the case for the article on Ducks’ Flat. Charles was 83 years old when he died in 1935, and was buried in the Rosemont Cemetery. His obituary was published in the Lambertville Beacon on December 12, 1935:

Charles Opdyke, one of the oldest residents of the Rosemont section, died at his home on Monday, December 9, aged 83 years. He had been ill for a long time. In addition to his widow, Mrs. Cornelia B. Opdyke, he was survived by one son, Orville P. Opdyke and four grandchildren.

Charles was buried in the Rosemont Cemetery. When Cornelia Opdyke died I cannot say, but it was sometime after the 1940 census, when she was 88 years old, living with son Orville P. Opdyke age 64 and his wife Flora. Cornelia has no gravestone next to her husband, and son Orville is not buried in the Rosemont Cemetery either, but his son Charles A. Opdyke, is there, having died in 1954.

The Protean John Cavanaugh Opdyke

James C., George C. and John C. Opdyke

Note: As mentioned earlier, I have written basically the same story about John C. Opdycke/Opdyke in my article “Sergeant’s Mills, part two.” But since this was part of the original Ducks’ Flat story, I will keep it. When I wrote the Sergeant’s Mills story I had completely forgotten that three years before I had written Mr. Opdycke’s story. Ah well.

It seems as if John C. Opdyke could not decide on a name. In the census records for 1850 he is listed as George C. Ophdyke, living in Delaware Township, working as a blacksmith, and owning no property. With him were [wife] Ann Maria 26, and children William R. 5, Amy E. 3, and Anna Mary 5 months; in the same household were Asa Snyder 37, carpenter, Christopher Snyder 5, and Amy Snyder 57. Amy was the mother of Anna Marie Snyder, wife of “George” Opdyke. Anna’s father was Daniel Snyder who died in 1835. Asa was Anna’s brother, and Christopher her nephew.

The marriage of Ann Maria Snyder and John C. Opdycke was announced in the Hunterdon Co. Democrat on August 30, 1843. It stated that Miss Ann Snyder and “Cavanaugh Opdycke,” both of Delaware Township, were married by Rev. Amos Merselles on August 26, 1843.

In 1860, the “George” C. Opdyke family was still in Delaware Township, but their post office had changed to Raven Rock, which served the Rosemont area. This indicates that the family had moved from Sergeants Mill to Ducks’ Flat. Opdyke was now “James C. Opdyke,” a 39-year-old mason, who still owned no real estate, but had $200 of personal property. He was living with Ann Opdyke 37, Runyon Opdyke 15 (Wm. R. in the 1850 census), Amy E. Opdyke 14, Anna M. Opdyke 11, and Charles Sherman Opdyke 8. The Asa Snyder family lived elsewhere; Anna’s mother Amy Snyder had died in 1859.

Then in 1870, the plot thickens. There is a James Opdyke age 60, a blacksmith, listed in Delaware Township, on a page with others living in the general northern Rosemont area. But his wife Ann is not listed. Instead he is living with “Lidan” (possibly Lillian?) age 43, and a whole new set of children, the eldest being William, born in 1860. Can this possibly be the same person? There was no one else in the census for that year that seemed close to our James Opdyke.

But the metamorphosizing hasn’t ended yet. In 1880, he is John C. Opdyke age 59, farmer, wife Ann 56 keeping house, daughter Amy 34, “help.” I could not find anyone named James Opdyke (or Obdyke) in Delaware Township this year.

The Op Dyke Genealogy calls him John Cavanaugh Opdycke, and gives this description:

“As his father left little property, John Cavanaugh was compelled to make his own way in the world. He worked on a farm, and then learned the trade of mason which he has followed the greater part of his life. Was nine months in the Union Army, and assisted in the care of the wounded after the battle of Fredericksburg. He spent ten winters in Maryland and Virginia, buying timber, superintending its working up into spokes, and shipping it to the Lambertville Spoke Works. Some years ago he purchased a few acres near the Kingwood M. E. Church, in Hunterdon, and built a comfortable residence for himself. He is an upright and intelligent man, highly esteemed by the community. His contributions to this Genealogy have been numerous and valuable.”

This suggested to me that for the 1870 census, I should be looking in Maryland and Virginia. But I found nothing there. We do know that John C. Opdyke died on Feb. 7, 1909, age 88 and was buried in the Rosemont Cemetery. I do not know when his wife Ann died. Clearly it was before 1900, because in that year, John C. Opdyke, age 79, widower, was living in Kingwood Township with his daughter Amy E. Opdyke 54 (born April 1846), single, dressmaker.

Which brings me to the end of this part of the story of Ducks’ Flat and some of its residents. There is more to come, including a surprising event in the 1920s that deserves far more recognition in the history of Hunterdon County than it has gotten so far. See “Ducks’ Flat, part two.”

Corrections:

Jan. 31, 2015, I originally wrote that Israel Sherman married Sarah Dilts Rounsavel. Kay Larson pointed out the error in her comments, and corrections have been made to this article. However, Kay’s comments were so extensive, I am including them here.

Comments by Kay Larson:

Marfy, I have a list of burials at Rosemont Cemetery, obtained from actual cemetery records, and in Section 1, Row 5, grave 33 is the grave of James Barcroft, died 1875. In the next grave 34, is one Ann Barcroft, who died in 1881. In checking a list of 19th century nicknames, I see that Ann was a nickname for Nancy. So I believe this could be your missing Nancy, wife of James.

There is another Anna “Nancy” (Wolverton)Barcroft (died 1883) buried there according to find-a-grave, but she was the wife of Ambrose and the grave of the Ann that I am looking at is not anywhere near the grave of Ambrose.

I forgot to add that it often happened that when a wife outlived her husband, it seems as though no one had the money or the inclination to put a stone on her grave. If Ann was a widow, living with a widowed daughter, it is no wonder that straightened circumstances might have been the reason for no stone. The Harrison Rousaville mystery is no mystery. He was, in all likelihood, the illegitimate child of Sarah Rounsaville, who was the second wife of my gg-grandfather, John Sherman, Israel Coryell Sherman’s father (as well as father to my great-grandfather, Andrew Sherman). I have to leave now to go somewhere. More later on this.

Sarah was the daughter of Samuel Rounsavell and his wife Joana (?). When Sarah married my gg-grandfather, the news article in the Hunterdon Republican gave her place of residence as Alexandria Township and John Sherman was of Kingwood Township. They were married 24 July 1858. I have a copy of the marriage record from the archives. This is listed as her FIRST marriage and his second marriage. Though census records all indicate a dob ca 1823, on the marriage certificate her age is given as 30 yrs. I can not find Harrison in the census records for 1850 even though he should have been either 5 or 8 yrs. old (depending on whether you accept the date on the tombstone or that of the 1880 census), but in 1860 he is living with Israel Sherman and his wife. GG-granddaddy’s convenient way of not having to deal with a grown step-son perhaps. I have not finished my research on him, but he did serve in the civil war (he may have suffered some disability due to the war) and there is some evidence that sometime after the 1880 census, he did marry, though the marriage was short lived because of his death .

Sorry, I meant the 1860 census where Harrison was listed as 18 years old which would make his dob ca 1842 and not the 1845 which is given on his tombstone. His death certificate gives his age as 50, when according to his tombstone it should be 49. He last resided in Raritan Township. And as far as I can tell the death certificate lists his father as Unknown (though the writing is faded) and his mother as Sarah Sherman. He is listed as married.

I see that you have mixed Sarah Rounsaville with Sarah Dilts. Israel Sherman married Sarah Dilts, (parents unknown) on 30 June 1849. Sarah Rounsaville was the second wife of John Sherman–they married in 1858. I believe that the Elizabeth Dilts who was living with Israel and Sarah was an unmarried sister of Sarah Dilts Sherman. Sarah Dilts Sherman died after 1909. No HIPPA laws in those days as the Hunterdon Republican printed a piece about her on 6 Jan. 1909, announcing that “Mrs. Sarah Sherman of Supreme Valley is suffering from a cancer on the breast. She has the sympathy of the whole community, as she has been a very kind hearted woman, has recently lost her son and is of an advanced age” Her son John did die in Nov of 1908. Even though he was Or had been married, his mother had taken care of him, and he died “near Rosemont”. Some family correspondence that I have mentions this fact and says he had stomach cancer.

I have never heard the name Supreme Valley before, and it is not listed in D’Autrechey’s book either.

Footnotes:

  1.  This article was posted way back in 2014. When I went to look for it recently, I discovered that it had vanished. I have no idea why, but that is the reason for reposting it now, with the addition of a few corrections and addendums.
  2. The 1851 map does show the site of a “S. House” (school house) on Strimples Mill Road. This is not the location Bush is describing, and is definitely not on Ducks’ Flat. And yet, this too is a mystery school. I have no name for it and no record of it.
  3. Hunterdon County Deeds Book 21 p.468, Book 29 p.060, and Book 42 p.262.
  4. His grandson Gabriel Wolverton sold this part of the plantation to George Holcombe in Deed Book 7 p. 604, which I have not (yet) seen.
  5. In the 1860 census, residents in the neighborhood of Ducks’ Flat used the Raven Rock Post Office. Rosemont did not have a post office until 1884.
  6. Three years later, I have still not done that deed search. I just moved on to other stories.
  7. H. C. Deed Book 27 p. 361.
  8. E. T. Bush, “The ‘Oregon’ and Other Schools.”
  9. H.C. Deed, Book 223 p. 347.
  10. Hunterdon Co. Republican Dec. 5, 1894.
  11. H. C. Deed Book 287 p. 677; also Book 240 p. 341.
  12. I wrote about Charles’ father here: “Sergeant’s Mills, part two.”